Twelve categories, hundreds of nominations — but only one will take home the green. It’s the first annual Southwest Build-it-Green Awards, where BIG teamed up with the USGBC to bring you the leanest sustainable leaders and projects in Arizona.
For more than 20 years, ECOtality has been designing revolutionary, fast-charge products that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, making alternative transportation easier and more accessible to the public.
Since 1989, ECOtality has had the opportunity to become involved in important North American electric vehicle (EV) initiatives, thanks to its subsidiary eTec (Electric Engineering Transportation Engineering Corporation). ECOtality also has been leading the way in the EV industry.
ECOtality was named lead grantee in August 2009 by the U.S. Department of Energy, and was awarded a $99.8 million grant for the EV Project, which will create and produce several thousand electric cars.
ECOtality’s EV Project will reach 11 major cities in Arizona, Oregon, Washington, California and Tennessee. There will be approximately 4,700 of Nissan’s electric cars, LEAFS, in the five states. There also will be 11,000 charge stations across the country to allow drivers to recharge their zero-emission battery electric cars.
Each LEAF is expected to save approximately 436 gallons of gasoline per year. Combined, that’s a savings of more than 2 million gallons of gasoline for all LEAFS. The EV Project is projected to generate more than 750 new jobs by 2012; and by 2017, ECOtality expects to have more than 5,500 new positions across the country.
ECOtality also has created the Minit-Charger, a battery-charge system that works as quickly and efficiently as possible by using proprietary algorithms to charge a battery. This system eliminates the potential for batteries to overcharge or overheat, and prolongs battery life.
Clean Air Cab is Arizona’s first completely green taxicab service that gives people the opportunity to go green just by riding with them. The company offers green cabs at an affordable rate.
Clean Air Cab is composed of 26 Toyota Priuses, which are currently the most fuel-efficient cars available. The Toyota Prius saves 33 miles per gallon of gas, which saves about 1,000 miles per gallon among all of the company’s cars combined.
Aside from driving green cars, the company supports global reforestation by planting 10 rainforest trees each month for each cab that is in service. In the first quarter of operations, Clean Air Cab planted 780 trees.
“We believe that going green isn’t something you do- it is something you are,” said Steve Lopez, founder of Clean Air Cab. “Our intention is to take the trendy out of ‘going green’ and deliver a product that allows consumers to be green just by participating.”
The Valley Metro Regional Public Transportation Authority is already helping thousands commute in a sustainable way. With the introduction of a new program called “ShareTheRide” Valley Metro RPTA is furthering their efforts by helping commuters choose the best transit options based on their time and route. The program’s goal is to educate the public about alternative methods of transportation, while reducing cost and pollution.
ShareTheRide is a free service accessible through Valley Metro’s website. When commuters enter alternative transportation information into the Commute Tracker they can earn points for incentives around the Valley. To support businesses, the program also includes customizable sub sites, where employers could promote the program and offer special incentives to their employees when they login to sub sites with a company e-mail address.
From data collected between April 22, 2009 and January 13, 2010, ShareTheRide resulted in 3,485,069 pounds of greenhouse gas savings and 34,706 pounds of carbon monoxide savings from a grand total of 178,842 round-trip commutes. The RPTA successfully created a service that Valley commuters needed to make traveling to work easier on the commuter and the environment.